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Topic: Strategy

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Where To Begin? Never Marketed Before.

Posted by SoundGuy on 125 Points
Technically I've been self employed for 5 years. The first 2.5 years were easy: I was a subcontractor who just had to show up and work. Now I'm on my own, and after 2.5 years of working without any marketing I feel I could really excel with the right marketing push.

I work in the film industry as a sound mixer. The industry is very relationship driven. I imagine cold calls will get me a *little* work, but for the most part people work with you because they've worked with you before and they like working with you. That is how being a subcontractor before gave me a boost. When I went on my own, I had 2.5 years of relationship building to lean on.

Currently I have amassed a fairly decent number of contacts. I have a little over 300 connections on LinkedIn, over 350 followers on Twitter, my Facebook page has over 120 likes and my personal account has over 300 friends. In my address book I have well over 600 contacts with easily another 500+ spread out over emails and business cards waiting to be input into said book. I keep notes on most contacts about when I last worked with them and on which project.

What I would like is to start putting my name in peoples minds for when they need to hire a sound mixer. If you're unfamiliar with the industry, it is not unusual to work with someone only once every year or so. Sure there are many you see often, but then you risk putting all your eggs in one basket. I would like to make sure I am at least on the radar of people that I might not have seen in a few years.

So my question is: Where do I begin? I fear that if I send out a mass email to everyone I will have wasted my 'first impression'. I'd like to contact everyone individually so it feels more personal, but again I don't want to make a bad first impression. Yes I say first impression because even though I've worked with most of these people before, many of them it may have only been once years ago and they could have forgotten me by now.

So what should I do first? I'm happy to read any books you may think useful, and to do any legwork needed before even thinking of marketing to potential clients. In the end tho, I'd like this to be something I can do on my own, regularly, without it becoming a second job. I want to market myself without becoming a full time marketer - I still want to do sound.

To make the question a bit more concise: What steps should I take to let people know I'm out there, without coming off as pushy or needy? I still will have to negotiate rates when they come calling and don't want it to seem like I'm desperate for work. In an industry where we all seem to experience the slow season at the same time, how can I market during that time without having other's think "I'm slow too, good luck with that"?

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    When we start any new marketing project, the first thing we do is research our target audience really well. We want to know how they think, what their needs are, how they make critical decisions (that might involve the subject on your mind), what words they use when they describe the perfect (in this case) sound mixer, etc.

    What if you selected, say, a dozen of the folks on your list and asked them each for 30 minutes of their time -- preferably face-to-face, perhaps over coffee -- to give you some advice? When you meet with them, go prepared with a few high-gain questions, and let them tell you what they think you should do. Don't try to sell yourself. Just ask your questions and listen carefully to their responses. Take detailed notes too.

    If you complete a dozen good interviews like this, you'll have your answer. Just look at your notes and analyze what the target audience has told you. If there are still some open questions, conduct 4-5 more interviews and zero in on those.

    As a consultant, I've done this dozens of times in industries that were new to me when the project began, and every time I was amazed at how effective this approach can be. (You'd think I'd have figured it out after 25-30 experiences, but I got better at asking the questions, and as I gained confidence the results got richer and richer.)

    Try this approach. Take it seriously, and it will work for you.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    How about sharing clips of recent projects you worked on, and share them with your contacts? Instead of "here, listen/watch this!" describe the challenge you had on the project (to better highlight your specialties). End your message with, "I'm available for your next project." And send out a clip a month to keep your name top-of-mind with your audience.
  • Posted by Moriarty on Member
    Okay, putting your question on its head. You have years of experience, and like many, have been hit hard by the US Crash of 2007/8 and its after-tremors.

    Of all your customers, which are the ones who you like working for best. Is there something that you can pinpoint in all of them that sort-of describes them as a group. Because doing this will show you who are the kinds of people you LIKE working for. What's more, they will like you too. Marketing to be effective needs to be targeted. Targeting these people will get you more of them - and targeting will make your adverts interesting and effective. Most effective for your favourite clients, less so for others - but no less effective than any other marketing for this group.

    Make sure that you have an email list with all your contacts on so that you can keep them in the loop - video newsletters are pretty cool. Anybody on this list and looking for your skills will have you in their subconscious. They might have ideas triggered by your latest newsletter/video share.

    That's when they don't need to go looking. Because rather than begging for work, it is always worth 5x more if they phone you first.
  • Posted by telemoxie on Member
    from the work I've done your industry, it seems to me you are either in Hollywood, or not.

    Where are you located? Are the majority of your clients close to you?
  • Posted by Ruth P. Stevens on Member
    Is there a trade publication or LinkedIn group read regularly by the target audience? If so, you could submit content, by-lined by yourself, to keep your name top of mind and demonstrate the value you bring. A short (500 words or so) article about industry trends, 5 things to avoid, tips for success, observations on the industry--topics that you know about, and that would help the target audience do their jobs better.

    Ruth

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